US Software giant Microsoft and Japanese automobile giant Toyota have come in collaboration to bring new innovations and technology to make Toyota vehicles more smart and tech-friendly. Also, this move is aimed to boost the use of Microsoft’s services among the drivers.
Toyota has created a new company called Toyota Connected as a part of this joint venture which will specifically focus on ‘connected’ cars which are powered by the Microsoft technology. Toyota Connected vehicles under this initiative will be specifically based on Microsoft Azure and according to Microsoft, this move is an attempt to bring driving technology, “to people’s daily lives.”
Zack Hicks, President, and CEO of Toyota Connected has given some insight on some of the projects that are under development under this co-venture. The most notable of these is a smart steering wheel which would continuously monitor driver’s heartbeat and respiration rate and will automatically alert the emergency services in case of any accident. Also, this would monitor the alcohol consumption level of the driver and would refuse to start the engine if the alcohol level is above the prescribed threshold. The driving seat could also turn into a scale, allowing the whole car to be used as a wearable which will allow users to measure and monitor various health features.
Hicks explained, “The car’s system might connect with other cars to learn that there’s traffic ahead, and then email the organizer of a driver’s intended meeting to let them know of the delay. And a check-engine warning could prompt the system to scan the customer’s and dealer’s schedules to suggest a good appointment time, and then book it, with the touch of a screen.”
However, with so many new features and technologies, there is always the danger of making drivers overwhelmed or distracted. The companies need to make this as less intrusive as possible so that drivers can have their full attention and focus on the road.
This won’t be the first time that Microsoft would be partnering up with an automobile company. Microsoft has already developed new technology which will bring Cortana or even Office to the future cars. The Redmond-based company has been working since 2011 while it has also been working with Ford in the USA.
Kurt DelBene, Microsoft’s executive vice president of corporate strategy and planning, explained, “People now care as much about their car’s computing power as its horsepower. So we’re working closely with carmakers, including this deep partnership with Toyota, to make automobiles more intelligent with sensors, screens, connectivity and vast networks of data that will help improve the whole driving experience.”
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